People are always trying out different techniques and supplements to combat aging signs. A new study has now suggested that a simple supplement could potentially accelerate anti-aging in humans.
The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, found loss of a protein called Menin could be responsible for the aging process, and a dietary supplement of D-serine could reverse it in mice.
The study focused on hypothalamic Menin. The hypothalamus is part of the brain that acts as a mediator of physiological aging. It does so by increasing neuroinflammatory signaling over time. Further, inflammation encourages multiple age-related processes, both in the brain and the periphery.
“We speculate that the decline of Menin expression in the hypothalamus with age may be one of the driving factors of aging, and Menin may be the key protein connecting the genetic, inflammatory, and metabolic factors of aging. D-serine is a potentially promising therapeutic for cognitive decline,” Lige Leng of Xiamen University, Xiamen, China, and study author, said, SciTechDaily reported.
For the study, researchers created conditional knockout mice, which have reduced Menin activity. Reduction of Menin in younger mice increased hypothalamic neuroinflammation as well as aging-related phenotypes, such as reductions in bone mass and skin thickness, cognitive decline, and modestly reduced lifespan, the study found.
Moreover, loss of Menin was also found to induce a decline in levels of the amino acid D-serine. A neurotransmitter, D-serine is found in soybeans, eggs, fish, and nuts, and is also available as a dietary supplement. According to researchers, the downslide in the production of the amino acid was due to the loss of activity of an enzyme involved in its synthesis (which was in turn regulated by Menin).
In the experiment, the study authors delivered the gene for Menin into the hypothalamus of elderly (20-month-old) mice. It was found 30 days later that the mice showed improved skin thickness, bone mass, learning, cognition, and balance, which was in tandem with an increase in D-serine within the hippocampus–a region of the brain critical for learning and memory.
Similar benefits on cognition, not including the peripheral signs of aging, could be observed by undergoing three weeks of dietary supplementation with D-serine, as per the outlet.
“Ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) Menin signaling diminished in aged mice, which contributes to systemic aging phenotypes and cognitive deficits. The effects of Menin on aging are mediated by neuroinflammatory changes and metabolic pathway signaling, accompanied by serine deficiency in VMH, while restoration of Menin in VMH reversed aging-related phenotypes,” Leng explained.
While on the topic of anti-aging, a drug prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is being used off-label as an anti-aging medication. Metformin belongs to a class of drugs called biguanides. However, there are no proven studies to support these claims.